What to Do During an Asthma Attack

What to Do During an Asthma Attack

It's important to keep asthma under control year-round and summer is no exception. But summer fun doesn’t have to be a bust for kids with asthma. With some planning and strategies, all kinds of activities are possible as long as your child sticks to their treatment plan and avoids triggers.

Asthma is a chronic condition that makes breathing difficult, as a result of inflamed or narrowed airways which are the tubes that allow air to flow in and out of your lungs. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25.1 million people in the United States live with asthma, including young children and adults.

Dr. Ashlei Mathew, an allergist/immunologist for ENT and Allergy Associates, says, “Although there’s no cure, asthma flare-ups can be managed by avoiding triggers, preventing symptoms with asthma medications, and being prepared to treat an asthma exacerbation when needed.”

Asthma Triggers

Asthma symptoms can appear when someone is exposed to possible triggers – things that they are sensitive to which can cause airway inflammation.

Common triggers include:

  • Allergens such as pollen and molds
  • Irritants such as smoke, fumes, and dust
  • Medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Exercise
  • Stress

Rescue Inhalers Can Help Control Symptoms

During an asthma attack, the small airways in the lungs narrow due to swelling and mucus production. Because airflow is restricted, a person with asthma might wheeze, cough, have trouble breathing, or feel chest tightness.

The symptoms of asthma range from having mild to severe difficulty breathing. A person with asthma will often use a metered dose inhaler to help control these symptoms. Depending on the severity of an asthma attack, they might need help assembling and using their inhaler.

Be Prepared For An Asthma Attack

If you or a loved one has asthma, it’s a good idea to create an asthma action plan. Talk with your health care provider to develop a treatment plan to help prevent and control asthma attacks. Your asthma action plan should include:

  • Factors that make your asthma worse - "asthma triggers"
  • Medications you take to treat your asthma with specific names of each medicine
  • Symptoms or peak flow measurements (if used) that indicate worsening asthma as well as the need for urgent medical attention
  • Medications to take based on your signs, symptoms, or peak flow measurements (if used)
  • Telephone numbers for an emergency contact, your healthcare provider, and your local hospital

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